The opening of the London 2012 Olympics means the predestined end to one of the first blogs I ever loved. As its mission statement says, the music project's creators Dave Barratt and Roger Greenawalt released a new recording of a Beatles song featuring a different artist (and always, of course, a ukulele) every Tuesday since Obama's Inauguration along with an original essay about the song. The essays are conversational yet insightful with tons of interesting Beatles stories, so check them out on the righthand column archives. Here's a passage from their essay on “Within You Without You”:
Does a human being contain a unique soul that is controlled by an external creator, or is all matter expressions of one consciousness? We don’t bother ourlves with such trivial questions, but in 1967 George Harrison did. While Paul, and to a lesser extent John, were busting bullets and sweating balls constructing what many consider to be The Greatest Pop Album Ever Made (TM), George was “chilling out” and “getting his head together” and “figuring shit out” etc. And who could blame him? George Harrison was born into a stuffy dull-thinking, Irish Catholic family in boring black and white post-war Liverpool. He had, with very modest talent, stumbled into the middle of the world’s biggest cultural phenomenon since Hitler. By age 21 he was more famous than the Pope but less famous than Ringo. That kind of experience can drive you mad. It drove Harrison to a shop called “India Craft” in London where he bought an inexpensive sitar.